Released in 1993, 4WD CG was the fifth figure in the CG Robo series. By now, Bandai and their design studio PLEX were running low on vehicles that you'd commonly expect to have flashing lights, and from about this point on the selections would be a bit more eclectic. In this case, the vehicle in question is a Highway Rescue 4x4 jeep - no idea on the make and model, but if anyone else knows, please let me know =)

The toy was the last of the five CG Robo moulds pressed into service in Europe as a Robo Machines Light and Sound figure, with a modified sticker sheet. In the UK line the figure was named as Rough Rider, though elsewhere it was limited to having a mere designation translated to the local language.


4WD CG's alt mode is rather unimpressive. This model could well have been actually used for Highway Rescue but it just smacks of the 'find a vehicle, find an excuse to jam some lights on it' ethos Bandai seemingly adopted for the line. Mind, it doesn't help that 4WD CG is just cheap. The only paint apps on the whole toy are windscreen and side windows - the grille is uncoloured, and the rest is sticker work. 4WD CG suffers from an abundance of stickers, including the rear windows and sunroof. It doesn't help that I've got the Robo Machines version, and (despite the figure being MIB when I got it) the stickers are faded and rather thick.

The gold doesn't go well with the blue either. As with the vehicle possibly being Highway Rescue, it could well be a real livery; it doesn't change that it's repulsive to look at. The SUV is also rather small - not much bigger than a '600' Series vehicle really, even if the scale makes it look larger. The engineering is poor as well, with obvious splits both along and across the vehicle. A bit of a mess really, especially compared to some of the other vehicles in the line.


The transformation wins a few points for being a little different, but it's still simple - simpler than most figures from Bandai's 1983-1985 heyday, and a bit disappointing by comparison (something which afflicts several CG Robo figures). It's like the designers hadn't updated their ideas in a decade. The resultant robot is still small, if an inch taller than the original Machine Robo figures, and you have to wonder how Bandai got away with selling him in the same price bracket as Fire CG.

The proportions aren't very good either with the tiny thighs making his legs look very weird, while the arms can't reach far beyond his boxy chest. Thus the articulation in the shoulders and elbows is rendered worthless. And while it's nice to have those golden stickers out of the way, 4WD CG is bland to look at, despite the diecast waist, spare wheel and lights to break up the torso. Even the head is done in a half-arsed fashion, simply a chromed mask on the front of a blue head. And the upper-arm stickers are a pain in the neck, getting crumpled every time you transform him to vehicle mode. It's a below average robot form.


4WD CG isn't bad exactly. He just has a vein of laziness and mediocrity running through him. Both modes have potential, let down by some very poor deco choices and a feel of corners being cut. I'd theorise that PLEX blew much of the design budget on the excellent Fire CG and Ambulance CG, and somewhere they had to scrape back the money and time expended with some quick designs. There are rank-and-file like 4WD CG in every toyline, and unless found cheap he's best avoided. It's just a shame he takes up one of the European slots and is thus a lot easier to find than some of the more interesting-looking toys.

[Corrections? Let me know!]

1993, CG Robo - CG-05: 4WD CG
1993, Robo Machines Light and Sound - RM-05: Rough Rider